Warmth / Stock Liner
I can’t say for sure whether it has more to do with Fischer’s special VACU-PLAST shell plastic or with the boot’s stock liner, but the Ranger Pro 13 is a notoriously cold boot.
Fischer sought to address this last season by incorporating Ultralon EVA foam (the same company Intuition works with to build their liners) into the liner of every Vacuum boot in their line, the Ranger Pro 13 included.
But while the latest liner is a little warmer than the original 11/12 model, I still find that my toes eventually go numb on any day when the temps get down around 20 degrees F, and perhaps in even warmer temps.
To be fair, my feet get cold pretty easily, but my Full Tilt Konflicts with Intuition Powerwrap liners seemed considerably warmer. It’s just a guess, but part of the reason may be because the toe box of Fischer’s newest Full Thermofit liner is still made from a neoprene & lycra material – the warmer Ultralon foam was only added to the red upper of the new liner, not the toe box (see picture above). And, of course, the unique plastic compound used for the shell may have something to do with the boots being cold, too. Hard to say.
If you rarely get cold feet, and have never considered it a recurring problem when you ski, then you may be fine in this boot. But if you have had problems with cold toes in other boots, then you will likely have similar issues in the Ranger Pro 13. I certainly have, but I like the way the boots ski so much that I haven’t yet done anything about it.
Swapping out the Ranger Pro 13’s stock liners for a pair of ZipFit World Cup liners, with their wool shearling-lined neoprene toe box, could be a solution, and I’m hoping to find out soon.
Slight Differences: Ranger Pro 13 Vacuum vs. RC4 130 Vacuum
The differences between the Ranger Pro 13 and the RC4 130 are few and slight. As I mentioned at the top of the review, the Ranger Pro is the more freestyle / freeride-oriented boot, and has a slightly squishy boot board (where the RC4 130’s is rigid) and a wider power strap.
I can’t say that the softer boot board of the Ranger Pro makes the boot FAR less harsh or more damp on really firm snow than the RC4, but I have thought that maybe it helps deaden particularly flat landings a little bit. I can’t speak to the effectiveness of the powerstrap on the Ranger Pro, as I tested the 13/14 version of the boot which had a narrower strap, but I can’t imagine it hurts the boot’s performance.
If you’re most interested in hitting airs and skiing hard in harsh, variable conditions, the more the Ranger Pro 13 makes sense over the RC4 130. However, if you swapped the boot boards out between the two boots and didn’t tell me, I doubt I would notice; the colors of the two boots are probably the most significant difference between them, all in all.
The Fischer Ranger Pro 13 Vacuum may have the most precise, snug, performance-oriented fit of any boot on the market while remaining genuinely comfortable, and offers outstanding downhill performance and feel, as a result.
The boot isn’t known for it’s warmth, and it may not suit those who have both an especially high instep and very wide feet. But if you don’t think these factors will be a problem for or you, then do yourself a favor and find a ski shop with a Vacuum fitting station when you’re in the market for new boots. The performance you’ll get out of a pair of the Ranger Pro 13 is as unique as the fitting process is itself.